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NRG Energy Moves Ahead with Nuclear Plans

Princeton-based independent power supplier inks deal with new consortium to build nuclear generating plants.

NRG Energy’s proposed project to build new nuclear generating units at its facility in South Texas moved a step forward yesterday.

Nuclear Innovation North America LLC (NINA), a nuclear development venture jointly owned by the Princeton independent power supplier and Toshiba Corp., announced it has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for South Texas project units 3 and 4 to a new consortium. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The consortium consists of Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corp., a U.S.-based Toshiba subsidiary, and The Shaw Group, which is providing a $100 million credit to NINA to assist in the financing of the project.

NINA is currently developing the 2,700-megawatt South Texas project through the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company. The project remains on track for permitting in 2012 and for the first unit to come online in 2016, and the second in 2017.

NRG is a diversified power supplier, owning nuclear, coal and other conventional power plants. In recent years, it has bought wind developers, invested in a huge solar project in the California desert and, earlier this fall, purchased Green Mountain Energy, an energy retailer that sells electricity to consumers from wind and other renewable sources. A subsidiary, NRG Bluewater Wind, is also seeking to build a wind farm off the New Jersey coast.

Its project in Texas, however, is far more ambitious than any of its other proposals, with NRG hoping to be one of the first energy companies to bring a new nuclear power plant online in more than a quarter of a century.

“The collaboration of Toshiba and Shaw is the ideal partnership for the expansion of the South Texas Project," said Steve Winn, president and chief executive officer of NINA. "Each of these partners has industry-leading expertise in building nuclear power plants, and combined they can deliver on-time and on-budget construction excellence."

Shaw’s $100 million credit to NINA will convert to equity in the project upon the satisfaction of certain conditions, including the project receiving full notice to proceed, which is expected in mid-2012.

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